What everybody, who is not somehow associated with Bipolar Affective Disorder, fails to understand is how a disease takes over every single part of one’s life and why one would use this disease as an “excuse” for all the tasks one couldn’t complete. Its hard for somebody who doesn’t have Anxiety to understand why one feels so out of place in one’s own classroom, why even familiar faces appear cold. You’ll know what helplessness is when you see all these affecting the one thing you wanted to be right in your life. Your grades start to fall and being a child of Asian parents, that’s the worst way of letting your parents down. Your parents, your hardworking honest loving down-to-earth parents, who never asked anything else from you. Your parents who, despite being unfamiliar with the term bipolar at first, accepted everything, even your average grades, with a smile.
So you become desperate, you understand that you NEED to up your act. You understand this, yet you can do nothing about it. You miss classes, you can’t study and you inform yourself that you are a fool for even considering good grades in your life again. You try to encourage yourself by saying you’ll do better the next time. But you don’t believe that for a second yourself. You blame yourself, you doubt the existence of your illness, you start suspecting that maybe you are just a lazy, inactive person. And your indolence is affecting your loved ones. You think of escaping, once and for all. But you are told by your parents that they would rather have you with your average grades than no you at all. You wish they wouldn’t say that, you wish they would rather see you dead. So you continue to breathe and try to ignore what feels like a personal purgatory.
As the twilight came closer, the shadows became more and more lengthy, making them resemble works by Giacometti. The cat didn’t appear to be informed of that fact, nor did he seem to be in a hurry, he had his dinner planned. He had been observing his meal for a week then, that one was special. although it also lived in the alley, it had fat in its body. The cat could use some animal fat for himself.
He slowly entered the room through the house. A child was sleeping peacefully there.
He sat there all day, with his pen and paper, surrounded by the customers and the cash-memos. The manager of the famous road-side restaurant “Salam Kebab House”, Ahmad left for home each night smelling of burnt meat. He didn’t notice the smell anymore, but his wife, rokaiya, after all these years, still did. She was a petit woman, with the fury similar to the spices they used to make their famous “shik kebab”. People had tears in their eyes from the spices used in making their famous “shik kebab”.
He didn’t want this life for himself. He imagined himself to be a musician, creating music, with his muse, a woman he would call his wife, but would never be able to truly get through the veil of mystery that kind of covered her from everyday monotone.
But he got this life instead, the life of burnt meat. His father, Salam Uddid was as famous for his fury as he was for his kebabs. It is said that one time his pious father literally kicked out a customer from the restaurant because that customer was drunk. When he told his father about his dream of the life of music, people say that Salam Uddin was so mad that his veins were visible on his forehead. Music was strongly prohibited in their religion.
We don’t know what exactly happened next, but after that day Ahmad was never seen anywhere else other than his home and the table of the manager of this restaurant. He learned to conform himself to the rules of this life, married the girl his father chose for him and continued living this life even after it had been 6 years since his father died.
What people don’t say, because they don’t have the necessary knowledge, is that under the cash register, one can find what looks like a regular cheap notebook, that is filled with the lyrics of hundreds of beautiful songs…
Things were getting tougher as the days went by. He was supposed to be brave, but he could only manage to gather the courage needed to really look at the darkness that was coming towards him, slowly, but surely, to grasp him, to take him in, to devour him whole. He couldn’t move, he had neither the strength nor the courage to step away…
It had been about half an hour since his last passenger left him there. On a hot day like that, passengers were hard to come by. People stayed inside their homes, under the shade of their roofs and the cool of their air conditioners, where the only warmth came from their loved ones. He felt grateful for the flame tree; it looked like it was on fire but the truth was it was the only shade for not-so-lucky rickshaw pullers like him who had to work on a day like that. He thanked his God for the existence and presence of that tree there, and kept on looking behind his shoulders with the hope of watching the face of his next passenger turning the corner…